Since is had been 2 whole days since I smoked anything I went ahead and tested the water pan mod today. I must say, not having the juices dripping on the coals makes a difference. I'm not necessarily saying one is better than the other just yet. I will need some more cooks with both methods and I will likely use both since I like a little variety.
And I just may take this in a slightly different direction and simply no put water in the pan and use it as a heat deflector and drip pan. I liked the color and texture I got using the stock method with no water pan. I may look to getting an actual heat shield/deflector.
A drawback is that I had to cut the rib racks in half as they were too long and would end up with the ends in the water pan. I may look at a rib rack and use the grate but I really like hanging the meat.
I also got a little over ambitious with equipment I have. I found a Weber 18" grate that hinges on both sides. So I thought I would do the ribs with the water pan and then wrap them for just half hour late in the cook but remove the water pan and hang the bird. The wife went wild about the bird a couple days ago so I wanted to do it with the grease fog method. I really needed the 1/2 open grate for this. The bird ended up falling as I was trying to pick it up to put a probe in the breast. It landed bone side down and I salvaged it and put it on the rack to cook it. I also tried to hang it breast side down. Can you tell I like to experiment?
There was an issue with temp control since this thing is not designed for a water pan. I ended up having to crack open the lid just a hair (I hung one one of the hooks off the side so the lid rested on that giving it a 1/8 inch crack in the lid). Without the crack in the lid you could see smoke occasionally come through the air intake hole. So air flow became a problem. However once I got the lid cracked and got it dialed in it held temps beautifully.
Believe it or not I will consider a UDS or perhaps a WSM in the future. I like the idea of a 55 gal UDS since I could likely hang meat and use a pan/deflector. This way I would use the PBC as it was intended for that grease fog smokiness with the juices dripping in the meat and the UDS for the more wood smoke flavor by using the pan.
Anyway, here are a couple of pics from today:
I didn't cook the ribs on top of the rebar. Just there when I took the pics.
The meat stuck to the butcher paper and peeled off some bark. Never happened before. I think I know what happened; I spritzed with some apple juice in the spritz and the sugar stuck.